University Mental Health Day 2021: Some ways to stay OK
With students across the UK still dealing with lots of disruption and uncertainty, University Mental Health Day – which falls on Thursday 4th March this year – has never been more important. The aim of the day is to bring together the university community to discuss students’ mental health, and plan steps that will make this an ongoing priority. Despite physical get-togethers and events being impossible this year, the organisers still hope to get the nation talking and taking positive action.
In the spirit of inspiring conversations, we asked some Ieso therapists, recent students and parents of students for their tips on how to stay well during these challenging times. Here are their ideas.
“It’s especially important to keep in touch with others, whether that be your course mates or your tutors and lecturers – and always ask for support if you need it.” Recent student
“Take regular breaks as needed to get some fresh air and relax – your concentration skills will be better when they get the chance to rest too. Structure your day with a routine and stick to the plan – don’t follow your mood!” Ieso therapist
“It's ok to need a break from your housemates! Don't feel bad about actually wanting to spend time away from your friends – this is healthy.” Parent of a current student
“There’s no shame in deferring your studies if you need some time out. Your mental health is too important to sacrifice for the sake of finishing your degree 'on time'.” Recent student
“Don’t only contact family members for scheduled ‘family check-ins’. Facetime them whenever you have exciting news to share – or just when you’re bored, or frustrated.” Parent of a current student
“Connect with your friends and family virtually as much as you can. Try to take one step at a time with regards to your studies, and what’s happening with your course. And take time out of uni for yourself, and to do things you enjoy.” Ieso supervisor
“Keep asking tutors and lecturers for support with work rather than letting it overwhelm you. They may not be nearby in person, but you should still be able to reach them via email for support with your work.” Recent student
“Give your professors a break if they aren’t as tech savvy as you – distance learning is new for them, too. Don’t allow the current circumstances to get in the way and dampen your interest and curiosity to learn (and if they do, it’s time for a break!).” Parent of a current student
“Keep in touch with your tutor group and course mates if you can. It may be worth looking into setting up virtual study groups with your peers so that you can discuss the work, and keep the social side of uni going too! Your tutors and head of department may be able to support with this.” Recent student
If you, or a student you know, is feeling anxious, overwhelmed, stressed or depressed, the best first port of call is the university’s wellbeing service or your GP. They’ll be able to help establish what you need, and point you in the direction of the right support services. If you’re interested in exploring the online CBT offered by Ieso, you can check here to see if our service is available in your area.